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Research Support

An overview of the support that is offered for researchers by the University of Essex Library.

White text highlighted dark orange on a light orange and white background. Text reads Increasing research visibility and reach

Below is a pdf version of the 'Good Practice: Increasing Research Visibility and Reach' booklet. If you would like a physical copy of the booklet, or would like more information and help with improving your academic impact please contact the Scholarly Communications and Research Support Team.

Research visibility

Increasing your research visibility makes it more likely:

  • Your work will be read
  • Your work will be cited
  • You will be involved in research collaborations 
  • You will gain credit for your work

There are lots of ways to increase your research visibility, and we'd encourage researchers at all stages of their academic careers to consider the below suggestions:

  • Keep your title short and informative
  • Improve keywords in your abstract and main article before publishing.
  • Make your publication available online for free (Open Access).
  • Share your data in a subject repository or the institutional repository.
  • Choose the correct outlet for your research: think about who you will reach by publishing in a specific journal.
  • Create an ORCID to collect your research in one place.
  • Create a Google Scholar profile.
  • Check your Scopus profile for potential mistakes, and link your ORCID to it.
  • Share your publications on Social Media (e.g. Twitter).
  • Write a post for The Conversation.
  • Email your colleagues when you publish - let others know about your work!
  • Cite yourself (when appropriate).

Our Citations 101 video below goes into more detail on these suggestions. You can also view a series of videos with some tips about increasing the visibility of your research here.

What are citations? How do I cite?

Citations are often used as a measure of research visibility, as they demonstrate where other researchers are citing your work. Citations are created when someone references something in a document. All resources that you use should be cited, including data, articles, books, conference papers, websites etc. 

How to cite things correctly depends on your department, or the requirements of the publisher or journal. To learn more about how to cite things correctly, please visit our referencing page.

The below video introduces citations in more depth, including explaining the limitations and strengths of using citation analysis.

Using citations as a measure

Citations are used to measure impact from the academic community, and are also often used in league tables or as a way of measuring research performance. It should be noted that citations alone are not a sufficient way to measure research performance, as what makes a 'high impact' publication varies a lot between fields.

More information about this can be found in the video below.

Bibliometrics is the term used when talking about measuring academic impact (citations). Several databases offer tools to analyse citations, however most of these are subscription based. Google Scholar is a free tool, but the information is limited and you have to create a researcher profile in order to access information about your citations.

Please note that the citation information in the database you use is limited to the database only. For example, Scopus only analyses publications from its own database, Google Scholar only analyses publications that are indexed in Google Scholar, and so on.

The University of Essex subscribes to Scopus and SciVal, two tools that can help you get an overview of citations on various levels, from researchers to institutions and countries. If you would like more guidance on how to use these tools, please get in touch with the Scholarly Communications and Research Support team.

For more information about the range of different metrics that can be used to demonstrate and evaluate research impact, have a look at the Metrics Tookit.

Other ways to measure visibility

Citations are not the only way you can measure research visibility. There are a variety of other metrics that can give you a broader picture of how your work is being seen and used.

You can find out more about these tools using the tabs above.

The University of Essex subscribes to Altmetric, a tool that enables you to track and demonstrate the reach and influence of your research to key stakeholders.

Knowing who’s talking about your research and what they’re saying is crucial in today’s increasingly online world. Ensuring your work is being accurately represented and interpreted, as well as getting to the right people at the right time, all plays an important factor in its broader impact.

With Altmetric, you can start to track this information as soon as your research is published – meaning no waiting around for citations, and the chance to engage directly with the audiences who are interested in your work.

You can find more information about Altmetrics here: What are altmetrics? – Altmetric.

You can find guidance on using the Altmetric Explorer through Altmetric's Resource Library. This includes information on creating reports, tracking the attention a researcher or publication is getting, and much more.

Here is a quick video to get you started with using the Altmetric Explorer:

You can find more information about Altmetric through the University website or by contacting the Research Support Team. Our team has facilitated webinars on more in-depth topics that we can provide recordings of on request:

  • ‘Using Altmetric to monitor and build engaging with your research'
  • ‘Using Altmetric to identify good practice and improve research visibility’
  • ‘Using Altmetric to decide where to publish your research’

You can use Overton for tracking and evidencing policy impact. Overton is the world’s largest searchable policy database, which tracks everything from white papers to think tank policy briefs to national clinical guidelines, and automatically finds the references to your scholarly research, academics and other outputs.

It looks for the names of any researchers on expert panels, who are quoted in policy documents, who give evidence to committee hearings and more. Importantly it can also find the links between policy documents – often research is picked up by intermediaries like think tanks and agencies – giving you unparalleled insight into the dynamics of policymaking.

Overton is used by researchers to study the dynamics of real world policymaking and also to track the impact of their own work on policy.

You can find more information about using Overton here, including how to set up an account and further training & support.

Citation stacking and citation cartels

Citation cartels and citation stacking are examples of ways editors, researchers and journals are trying to increase their academic impact (citations) by gaming the system. Being involved with a citation cartel or engaging with citation stacking can be extremely damaging for your credibility as a researchers so it is strongly advised that you refrain from doing so.

You can use the buttons below to find out more about Citation Stacking & Cartels:

Image of stacked stones

Citation stacking is when academics cite themselves to get more citations or when a journal asks academics who submit their manuscripts to add references that are from the same journal to increase the citations to the journal. However, this is now very easy to discover, and so citation cartels have emerged.

Citation cartels are groups of people or journals (usually editors of the journals) who agree to cite each other in order to boost the impact factor of the journal. Journals usually do this during the peer-review process by suggesting that academics add a lot of references to their manuscripts that are from two or three other journals – these journals will then return the favour.

If someone asks you to cite irrelevant research in your work please get in touch for advice.

Read more about Citation Cartels & Citation Stacking here:

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Except where otherwise noted, this work by University of Essex Library and Cultural Services is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.